Scotland generates clean energy 'by the bucket load'

Scotland's wind and solar generation output hit new highs in May as the country moves towards its clean energy goals.

Last month, Scotland’s wind turbines generated an impressive 863,495 MWh of electricity to the National Grid, representing an increase of almost 20% compared to May last year when wind energy provided 692,896 MWh.

Data, provided by Weather Energy and analysed by WWF Scotland, shows that wind power supplied 100% or more of Scottish homes on 11 of the 31 days in May.

In addition, it was found that several parts of Scotland where homes are fitted with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels had enough sunshine to generate more than 100% of the electricity needs of an average household.

Renewables playing a vital role in Scotland

Scotland's total electricity consumption, including homes, business and industry, last month was 1,857,566 MWh. Wind power generated the equivalent of 46% of Scotland's entire electricity needs for the month.

Dr Sam Gardner, acting director of WWF Scotland, said in a statement:"May proved to be another great month for renewables with the wind sector meeting 95% of the electricity needs of Scotland's households.

"On 15 May, output from turbines generated enough electricity to power 190% of homes or 99% of Scotland's total electricity demand. Month after month, renewables play a vital role in cutting carbon emissions and powering the Scottish economy."

Excess of solar power

Homes with solar PV panels generated over 100% of average household electricity needs in Aberdeen, Dumfries, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Lerwick.

Lerwick, on the Shetland Islands, generated the most solar power at 114% of an average household electricity demand. Dundee followed with 112%.

Dr Gardner added: "Thanks to a super sunny month, solar was on sizzling form and could have met more than 100% of household electricity demand in towns and cities across Scotland."

There was also enough sunshine to generate more than 90% of an average household's hot water needs with solar hot water panels in Aberdeen, Dumfries, Dundee, Lerwick, Perth, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling.

Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy said: "Scotland again managed to pump out clean power by the bucket load during May." WeatherEnergy is a UK based company that provides daily and weekly figures for the energy generation of an average household solar PV and solar thermal installation.

Across the UK, solar panels provided a record amount of power on 26 May, when the National Grid reported an 8.5 GWh peak over a half-hour from midday, almost a quarter of total demand.

Scotland’s clean energy plans

The Scottish government wants at least half of the country’s energy needs to be met by renewable energy by 2030 in a bid to reduce its dependence on North Sea oil and gas.

Scotland’s new energy strategy intends to push motorists, homeowners and businesses into using low- or zero-carbon green energy sources to meet this ambitious goal.

Currently, 47% of Scotland’s total energy use comes from petroleum products largely extracted from Scotland’s North Sea oil platforms, and 27% from domestic and imported natural gas needed for home heating.

With opposition parties and environment groups expressing scepticism about a lack of detail in the new strategy, Scottish ministers privately admit cutting oil use is their biggest challenge in hitting tougher targets unveiled last week to reduce Scotland’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 66% by 2032.

With North Sea oil and gas production in decline due to reserves running dry, the increase in renewable power can only be good news for the country.